Traditional Anglicans To Get Personal Prelature?

It is being reported in an Australian Catholic weekly that the CDF is prepared to recommend that the Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of continuing Anglicans seeking unity with Rome, be granted the status of a Personal Prelature. From The Record
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church – a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.
TAC members split from the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams over issues such as its ordination of women priests and episcopal consecrations of women and practising homosexuals.

The TAC’s case appeared to take a significant step forwards in October 2008 when it is understood that the CDF decided not to recommend the creation of a distinct Anglican rite within the Roman Catholic Church – as is the case with the Eastern Catholic Churches - but a personal prelature, a semi-autonomous group with its own clergy and laity.

Opus Dei was the first organisation in the Catholic Church to be recognised as a personal prelature, a new juridical form in the life of the Church. A personal prelature is something like a global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop and with its own membership and clergy.

Because no such juridical form of life in the Church had existed before, the development and recognition of a personal prelature took Opus Dei and Church officials decades to achieve.

An announcement could be made soon after Easter this year. It is understood that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in the matter, has linked the issue to the year of St Paul, the greatest missionary in the history of the Church.
The Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls could feature prominently in such an announcement for its traditional and historical links to Anglicanism. Prior to the English Reformation it was the official Church of the Knights of the Garter.

The TAC’s Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth, told The Record he has also informed the Holy See he wants to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman, also an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, as a celebration of Anglican-Catholic unity.
If this report is accurate this is potentially earth shattering news! This would be an absolutely huge development not only for the Catholic Church but for the Anglican community as a whole. A personal prelature would give the Traditional Anglicans a way of being protected from interference by Bishops not keen on their inclusion.

This potential news, following on the heels of Pope Benedict's dramatic overture toward unity with the SSPX, illustrates the Pope's dedication to authentic Christian unity.

Again, if this news is true, this could be an absolutely momentous year for the Church.

Stay tuned!


  1. You said it, this is HUGE. Just plain HUGE. I've been hoping and praying for this all year!

  2. Interesting. This would be an extraordinary and novel way of applying theology of ecclesial movements.

  3. Does this mean there would now be two Anglican-use rites in the Church? I'm confused, but then I'm easily confused. Welcome home, everyone!

    -- Mack

  4. Ahh... the pope of the Olive Branch! =)

    (That leaves us what... like 20 years to the second coming? Not that I believe that stuff, but still.....)

  5. Gloria in Excelsius Deo! My husband's extended family is Catholic, but he is second generation born to a branch that fell away and is, by baptism, Anglican. He has been Catholic in all but name for the last six years, and this development would let him have a seamless transition back to the faith of his family.

  6. I have spoken to an older cleric who has worked with the Vatican. He said the idea of letting the high Anglicans back in through a personal prelature predates (PP) Vatican II. Opus Dei alone was not the only group in consideration for the personal prelature. The Anglican union might have been one of the major reasons to invent the PP.

    I also know of at least one Anglican Bishop to have spent a month at the Vatican hammering these things out.

  7. Anonymous-Mack asked a good question. What about the Anglican-Use parishes? They have something like a personal prelature, too don't they, called the Pastoral Provision?

  8. Anglican Use Parishes were instituted just for the United States and are under the authority of the local Roman Bishop. Although such parishes have been a possibility since the early 1980s, there are now, some quarter century later, only SEVEN such parishes. Some local Roman Bishops resist such parishes. Some Roman clergy resist also.
    This mentioned concept would allow ONE global prelature under a particular bishop. The appointment of the particular bishop would be critical. I hope and pray that the bishop would be the current head of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

  9. Fr. Odhran-Mary,

    I dont think he could be the bishop of the group simply because he is married. Perhaps he could be a special advisor to whomever was the bishop, but I doubt that the Vatican would allow a married bishop. It would severly hurt relations with the orthodox.

  10. So have the TAC agreed to accept church teachings on contraception? If they haven't, how could this work.

    Also what about TAC clergy who were once Catholic Priests, but left and got married?

    On a positive note, could they PLEASE help the US church with our translations and liturgical music!!! I'd love to see sung vespers be a CATHOLIC thing again....

  11. The TAC, not the Vatican, would have to make many concessions.

    1) Absolutely no married bishops. The current bishops would be ordained priests and nothing more.

    2) TAC would have to revise parts of their liturgy to conform properly to the Latin Rite, similar to what the Anglican Use has done.

    3) Most, if not all, the priests would have to be ordained to be valid. This may be a case-by-case situation.

    4) Contraception would not be allowed as one commentor brought up. The teachings of the Church would have to be adhered to 100%.

    5) I'm sure many TAC congregrants would not enter in union with Rome and split off, this could be just a minority.

    6) Rowan Williams head will implode once he sees an exodus of possibly up to 1/4 of his Anglicans switch to Rome via the TAC (or their own prelature).

    7) These are only rumors and could possibly mean absolutely nothing.

  12. I've known of a number of cases where Anglican married priests are recognised as priests following conversion, so I don't know why these would function differently. I think the bishop question is interesting (Eastern Rite churches don't have married bishops, either), but if we truly believe in Christian unity, we're going to have to address it seriously. (I keep hoping some British monarch and the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury will convert simultaneously and bring them back into the fold - I think I may be very old before it happens but who knows.)

    At any rate, this is good news. Our brethren are coming home!

  13. Some members of the TAC were ordained RC priests, left and went protestant to get married, and are now TAC ministers.

    From a Catholic perspective their marriages are very invalid!

  14. Ah, well, that would make a difference. I don't see how they could leave their families though, so I guess they'll have to stop being priests - maybe they could be deacons or something.. hmmm..

  15. Anyone who leaves his wife and family to follow me will have 100X that in this life (or something to that effect). And after all, Bishop Gene Robinson did it, though for another man.

  16. I don't know why we would question their commitment to the entirety of the Catholic Faith (including things like contraception) considering they have already publicly announced that they accept the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church as being true.

    They also have made clear that they are coming in a spirit of humility - they are making no "demands" such as retaining married bishops. The Church in turn should do everything it can to make their reunion as smooth as possible.

    This is beautiful news and I sincerely pray to God that it comes true.

  17. The current head of the TAC has already said that he will retire into lay life if the TAC is accepted back into communion. He knows that as a Catholic priest who left the priesthood to marry, that he cannot be a priest again while his wife leaves. However I am sure he will be granted proper laicization so that his marriage can be validated.

    The married bishops, if their marriages are valid, will be able to be priests under something similar to the pastoral provision. Any couple either of whom was ever married before, or either of whom is a former Catholic married outside the church, will have to go through a investigation of their marital situation and annulments of previous marriages if necessary. At least, the Anglican Use people I know had to do this when their parish converted. (What do the Orthodox do when Anglican parishes become Western Rite Orthodox; do they just shrug and say, Oh well? But then, they allow up to three marriages.) Of course, seeing how many people are involved, Rome could just declare all their marriages valid by fiat, but I rather think that would not be received well at all by the many people who resent having to go through annulment procedures. I thought it showed great humility on the part of the Anglican Use people to be willing to submit to that in order to be Catholic and really admired them for it. The leadership of the TAC, at least, has expressed such humility, but I wonder if all of their followers are ready to do likewise.
    Susan Peterson

  18. I believe its a deserved status. Once they have accepted the authority of Rome there is little difference, at least as I understand it.

  19. Another move toward reconciliation!

    Sobornost News

  20. Another place to pass on the rumour!

  21. Be4fore his gigantic split from Rome Henry VIII was a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. Henry defended Pope Leo X against theological attacks by Martin Luther. For his defense of the faith, the Pope conferred upon him the title Defender of the Faith. Ironically, this title has passed down through all of England's monarchs to today.


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